They ate and drank with great joy in the presence of the Lord that day. 1 Chronicles 29:22
Such joy in this chapter that David wanted it to go on forever, he prayed: “Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided” (verses 18-19).
David prayed that God would keep the people’s hearts loyal to himself, but it didn’t happen. He prayed that Solomon would have wholehearted devotion to keep God’s commands but that didn’t happen either. God doesn’t override free will. We choose the desires and thoughts we keep in our hearts, we choose to be loyal or not, and we choose our level of devotion. God doesn’t take our choices from us.
Perhaps Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-11 is a better model. He prays for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, to live a life pleasing to him, to grow in the knowledge of God and to be strengthened so they may have great endurance and patience. Paul saw the Colossians’ greatest necessity as continually growing in understanding God and his ways, and to have perseverance.
Even then, the Colossians would still have to choose. Christian leaders can provide opportunities for growth and recommend spiritual discipline, but ultimately it’s our decision as to whether we engage in these practices.
Perseverance is part of the growth process and it was sadly lacking in David’s time. The ability to keep going when things get difficult will greatly enhance our spiritual lives.